The war on polystyrene is back on in Massachusetts. Polystyrene is everywhere, not just Styrofoam. In fact, you're probably disposing of polystyrene all wrong.

Styrofoam, to be clear, is the trademarked brand name of a certain type of polystyrene. For the sake of this post, we'll talk about polystyrene in general.

STYROFOAM is a registered trademark of the DuPont. This trademark covers a full range of extruded polystyrene building products used primarily in construction for wall insulation, floor insulation, and roof insulation systems. Most often the word "Styrofoam" is generically used to describe expanded polystyrene foam products like disposable coffee cups, cooler and other foam packaging materials, none of which are actually STYROFOAM.


What Is Polystyrene?

Polystyrene plastic is made from petrochemicals. Polystyrene is commonly used in food packaging, where it comes in two forms, rigid and foam.

Polystyrene is banned in some form within 60 municipalities across Massachusetts.

Abington, Acton, Amherst, Andover, Arlington, Athol, Attleboro, Brookline, Buckland, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Concord, Dennis, Eastham, Easthampton, Essex, Fairhaven, Georgetown, Gloucester, Grafton, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hamilton, Hanson, Ipswich, Lee, Lenox, Lexington, Lincoln, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Maynard, Melrose, Nantucket, Newton, Northborough, Northampton, Orleans, Pittsfield, Provincetown, Reading, Revere, Rockport, Saugus, Shrewsbury, Somerville, South Hadley, Stockbridge, Sudbury, Upton, Wayland, Wellfleet, Westborough, Westfield, Westford, Whitman, Williamstown, and Winthrop all have taken action against the environmental enemy.

Statewide Ban On Polystyrene Proposed

The new proposal would be across the commonwealth.

The latest proposals from Rep. Marjorie Decker, the committee co-chair, and Sen. Michael Barrett (H 3627 / S 1328) would apply to single-use disposable products including plates, cups, bowls, hinged or lidded containers, straws, cup lids and utensils.


Can You Recycle 'Styrofoam'? Why The Number Matters...

The reduce, reuse, recycle triangle has a number in the middle of whatever it's on, that number matters when it comes to recyclability.

Plastic Recycling Symbols

The number six, for instance, which applies to polystyrene, commonly found on disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carryout containers, and more cannot be recycled via curbside pickup.

You're Probably Recycling Polystyrenes By Mistake.

That's why looking for the number 6 is critical.

The bulky foam form is not accepted in curbside recycling programs in Massachusetts (and most other states). Because foam is 95% air and often contaminated with food residue, recycling is impractical. The rigid form even when collected curbside is seldom recycled.

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